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23 Eylül 2020

Media as an Element of Turkish Soft Power: Example of Morocco

During the last years, the term power knew a slight change, from being hard, and coercive to a softer power. In his book “ bound to lead “ released in 1989 Joseph NYE developed For the First Time The term soft power, then little by little the term entered the public discourse, and was used by editorial writers, political leaders and Academics around the world. Some misunderstandings occurred regarding the newly coined term however, Joseph NYE continued on highlighting the real meaning of the term, according to him soft power is the ability to attract through culture, values and domestic practices, and the perceived legitimacy of the country’s foreign policy (Nye,2004).

The information age made it more relevant for countries to use soft power to attract other nations. We can take as an example Turkey, a country that grew to be considered as a model for the countries in the region (Keyman, 2009, p12). Especially after the new government and the reforms the latter introduced followed by a strategy to enhance the country’s sources of soft Power by emphasizing first the proximity with neighboring countries. Leaving behind the historical residues and conflicts, a “new Turkey” is emerging due to the new geopolitical imagination and the creation of public diplomacy (kalin, 2011) which aims to introduce the new turkey to a larger crowd in an efficient and comprehensive way.

After the institutionalization of soft power in 2010, turkey’s public diplomacy stepped into action by fulfilling its goals as an instrument of Turkish foreign policy and soft power, which is to increase the visibility of turkey in international public opinion. To achieve this goal Science and Technology, economy, tourism, culture, art, foreign, and media activities were coordinated.

For today’s article the focus is turned towards media as an important element of information and as many researchers would describe the phenomenon as an important element of attraction. Because, media has a great impact on society and can change people’s lives (Jaidi, 2000). Looking at all the previously presented information about soft power and public diplomacy, media would highlight itself as the best choice to achieve public diplomacy goals and strengthen the country’s soft power. The Turkish government, though the continuous denial from their part, try to achieve their foreign policy goals via Turkish series as a medium to spread the Turkish culture and be present worldwide.

Morocco a geographically far country was also introduced to Turkish culture through Turkish series. For research purposes, a questionnaire conducted with a number of young University Moroccan students to measure the impact Turkish series have on Moroccan viewers. The overall result collected from the questionnaire States that the Turkish series played a major role in introducing Turkish culture in Morocco. It has also created a desire in learning the Turkish language, visiting the country, dress like the series’ protagonists, and for some, find a Turk ish person as a soul mate. However, these soap operas didn’t have a major impact on viewers’ culture. The sample showed an attachment to their culture including Moroccan cuisine, traditional clothes, daily habits, and their interpersonal interactions.

To conclude, when talking about soft power one cannot define it as an alternative for Hard power each one is as important as the other. Soft power became more relevant due to technology. People became more accessible through social media and other technological facilities. However, according to Joseph NYE combining the two would assure a smart approach to power.

İlham AGOUR

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